Reason No. 1: The Super Bowl Hangover Is Real
Let the cliche go aside for a second. Either repeating as Super Bowl champs, or bouncing back from a tough loss, is extremely difficult. There are three or four more games than the regular 16-game season, and all that wear and tear mounts up, both physically and mentally.
There’s more facing the Rams as well. Case in point, as former KNBR 680 insider Kevin Jones pointed out, why did Sean McVay bench arguably his best weapon, running back Todd Gurley? Jared Goff’s efforts weren’t good at all, either.
What Jones is saying is the Rams’ slew of offseason question marks may easily carry over into 2019, creating problems McVay and Co. won’t be able to answer easily.
So, where do the 49ers fit into all of this?
For starters, the Seattle Seahawks still have to be viewed as division contenders in 2019. The Rams are, too. But their hold on the NFC West certainly doesn’t seem as formidable as it was entering 2018.
We have to assume the 49ers bounce back, of course, and there’s plenty of speculation to believe they will. Additionally, unlike L.A. in 2018, the Niners aren’t being rebuilt in win-now mode. General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan are playing the long game with roster development, which is why you haven’t seen the lucrative and expensive one- and two-year free-agent deals like the Rams had.
Putting it simply, the Rams are in a position where regressing might be a very big reality. The 49ers, meanwhile, appear to be trending upwards.
And L.A.’s loss in Super Bowl LIII only serves to expedite that process.